Food and Paper: Synchrony, Physiology, and Flowing Together in Javanese Gamelan (Hannah Gibbs)

This week's Food & Paper will be given by Hannah Gibbs (University of York).

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The experience of flow in collaborative contexts refers to tasks in a group setting in which participants are aware of their simultaneity. Components of collective flow are related to components of individual flow state with the addition of empathy. In contexts where collective flow occurs, and contexts where people play music together, numerous physiological components of the autonomic nervous system have been found to synchronise across participants. Javanese gamelan requires all individual parts to work harmoniously. Collective flow, and its native equivalent ngeli, underpin the egalitarian ethos of gamelan as a result of interlocking synchrony, mutual responsiveness, and repetitive cyclical patterns. Consequently, gamelan presents the ideal setting in which these effects can be studied, and this study aimed to test whether there are associations between physiological coupling and general trends, self-reported measures of flow, experience levels, and positive affect. Within this talk, I will outline my methodological approach and results of my first study, provide some insight into the next steps of my research, and open up the discussion for suggestions and feedback surrounding some of the more complex components of my analyses.


Hannah Gibbs earned her bachelor's degree in Music in 2018 from Cardiff University in Wales, and her MA in Music Psychology from the University of York in 2021. She is currently entering the 3rd year of her PhD at York, where she is funded through the AHRC's White Rose College of Arts and Humanities and supervised by Dr. Hauke Egermann. As well as being interested in the mechanisms underlying ensemble performance, she is a keen double bassist, pianist, and gamelan player. She is enjoying her time as a guest at RITMO, working with Jonna Vuoskoski on a project relating to interpersonal music-induced synchrony. 

Published Aug. 23, 2022 4:50 PM - Last modified Oct. 23, 2022 8:28 PM